Live match makes history in Far East

NORTH Korean state television aired full live coverage of the team's 7-0 World Cup loss to Portugal yesterday in what is believed to be a first for a North Korean football game taking place abroad.

Korean Central Broadcasting carried live coverage and commentary of the match in Cape Town, South Africa, ending the broadcast soon after Portugal beat North Korea 7-0. The broadcast was monitored in Pyongyang by international TV news agency APTN.

"The Portuguese won the game and now have four points," a commentator said when the match concluded. "We are ending our live broadcast now."

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The broadcast was believed to be the first time full coverage of a North Korean game played abroad had been aired live in the totalitarian state.

North Korea has a team at the World Cup for the first time in 44 years. The broadcast of the 2-1 loss to five-times champions Brazil last Tuesday in Johannesburg, which took place in the middle of the night in North Korea, was shown the following evening during prime time in Pyongyang.

Yesterday's broadcast aired in the evening in North Korea. North Korea can air the broadcasts as part of an agreement with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in Malaysia, which said it would beam the World Cup matches to Pyongyang for free.

In Seoul, South Korean broadcaster SBS, which owns the World Cup broadcast rights to the entire Korean peninsula, had said earlier that it would not offer the broadcasts to North Korea as it did during the past two World Cups.

The broadcaster said that negotiations had stalled amid political tensions with the North.

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